Lawmakers Seek To Lower The Cost Of Health Care

By Sarah Birnbaum

Nov. 28, 2011

WGBH State House reporter Sarah Birnbaum talks about the pre-Thanksgiving rush of bill-signings.

BOSTON — The corridors of the State House are quiet with lawmakers on their winter break. But Beacon Hill leaders say they are working behind the scenes on a bill to bring down the cost of health care.

Almost a year ago, Gov. Deval Patrick filed a bill that would gradually change the way doctors and hospitals get paid. It would move the state away from paying for each visit or procedure and toward giving doctors and hospitals a yearly budget for the care of their patients. During the week of Nov. 21, Mass. Attorney General Martha Coakley proposed letting the state regulate how much doctors and hospitals are allowed to charge. But legislative leaders are drafting their own measures.
Also, Patrick is looking for someone to head up the gaming commission that was just established under the new casino gambling law. The position is very powerful. Whomever Patrick appoints will oversee the multibillion dollar gambling industry in Massachusetts and have broad authority to license and regulate the new casinos. Patrick says he hopes to pick someone within the next two weeks.
On Dec. 1, the governor leaves for a nine-day trade mission to Chile and Brazil. He will be accompanied by business and academic leaders and state officials. The mission will focus on creating jobs in the life sciences, information technology, clean energy and education sectors.

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